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[N. S. Vol. XLII. No. 1076 

tion becomes more prominent, betraying itself 
by the greater tendency of the tissues to li- 
quefy and, since hydration is now less, by soft- 

The experiments also bear upon the problem 
of digestion and that special phase of it known 
as autolysis. The first changes observable in 
these reactions consist of swelling, followed 
by softening and dissolution of the proteins 
acted upon. Acids and alkalies have long been 
known to favor these initial steps in proteolysis, 
while salts have been known to inhibit them. 
Their action has usually been laid to the effect 
upon the enzymes themselves. As has been 
pointed out before, 4 acids, alkalies and salts 
produce at least as large and probably their 
greatest effects upon the proteins undergoing 
digestion. The important practical and theo- 
retical bearings such considerations have upon 
laboratory practise and in the every-day prob- 
lems of the hanging of meat, its preservation 
by salting, the prevention of putrefaction, etc., 
is self-evident. 

The experiments also reemphasize the neces- 
sity of interpreting in the simpler language 
of colloid-chemistry the mass of experimental 
material now jumbled under the heading of 
" permeability " studies. It means little to 
say that under the influence of acids or of 
substances which in living cells produce acid 
effects (like the anesthetics) the " permeabil- 
ity " of the " plasma " membranes surround- 
ing cells is increased so that albumin gets out 
or salts get in. Not only are plasma mem- 
branes figments of the imagination, but noth- 
ing is gained by heaping " permeability " 
properties upon them. "Permeability" is a 
physiological concept which needs itself to be 
explained. The proteins throughout a cell 
(not only in its hypothetical overcoat) can 
under the influence of acids, for example, be 
made to absorb water, to absorb salt, 5 to soften 
and to give off albumin. And as all these ef- 
fects can be reduced through the addition of 
various salts, there would seem to remain little 
reason to ignore for the interpretation of well- 

* Martin H. Fischer and Gertrude Moore, Am. 
Jour, of Physiol., 20, 330 (1907). 

s Martin H. Fischer, Jour. Am. Med. Assoc, 64, 
325 (1915). 

known biological facts the simple principles of 
colloid-chemistry. Martin H. Fischer 

Joseph Eichberg Laboratory of Physiology 
in the University of Cincinnati 

section of biology and geology 
academy of science and art of pittsburgh 
During the year 1914-15 the Section of Biology 

and Geology of the Academy of Science and Art of 

Pittsburgh held fifteen meetings with an average 

attendance of about 150 members. The general 

topie under discussion was Evolution and the fol- 
lowing papers were presented: 

October 6, 1914. Dr. Frank Schlesinger, Director 
of the Allegheny Observatory: "Evolution of 
the Universe." 

October 20. Professor Henry Leighton, of the 
University of Pittsburgh: "The Earth's History 
and Development." 

November 3. Dr. Chas. E. Fettke, of the Carnegie 
Institute of Technology: "The History of the 

November 17. Dr. A. E. Ortmann, of the Carnegie 
Museum : ' ' The Direct Evidence for Evolution. ' ' 

December 1. Dr. O. E. Jennings, of the Carnegie 
Museum: "The Evolution and Ecology of 

December 15. Dr. A. E. Ortmann: "Evolution in 
Apimals. ' ' 

January 5, 1915. Professor L. E. Griffin, of the 
University of Pittsburgh: "Embryology in its 
Eelation to Evolution." 

January 19. Dr. "W. J. Holland, Director of the 
Carnegie Museum: "Paleontology." 

February 2. Professor Eoswell H. Johnson, of 
the University of Pittsburgh: "Experimental 
Evolution. ' ' 

February 16. Mr. O. A. Peterson, of the Carnegie 
Museum: "The Evolution of Man." 

March 2. Mr. George Seibel: "The Evolution of 
Society. ' ' 

March 16. Professor L. E. Griffin: "Ant Be- 
havior. ' ' 

April 6. Professor Gardner C. Basset, of the Uni- 
versity of Pittsburgh: "Heredity." 

April 20. Dr. H. B. Davis, principal of the Train- 
ing School for Teachers: "Evolution in Educa- 

May 18. Eev. Charles E. Snyder: "The Evolution 
of Seligious Thought." 

Charles E. Fettke,